Injuries, which are an inevitable and adverse consequence of sport and exercise participation, are not only detrimental to levels of physical activity, health, well-being, and sporting excellence but to the economy, society, and the health-care system at large. Over the past decade, a number of factors have been proposed within the research and professional practice literature to be related to, or have the potential to influence injured athletes’ adherence to rehabilitation programmes.
Of the strategies that can enhance injured athletes’ rehabilitation adherence, social support is thought to have particular merit. Specifically, the physiotherapist is arguably one of the most important support providers for injured athletes during rehabilitation. Although existing literature provides some evidence for the benefits of social support and the importance of the physiotherapist as a support provider, it has not examined the relationship between physiotherapist social support and injured athletes’ rehabilitation, or determined the differential effects of support functions and types on support effectiveness. Therefore, the overarching aim of the project is to address this oversight by examining whether athletes’ perceptions of support functions, types and responsiveness of the physiotherapist influence – but not limited to – adherence to rehabilitation, and actual recovery outcome.